Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hay Lakes: A Creamery, a Barn and More!

I did say a few posts back that, this year, I would boldly go where I haven't gone before. So far the year is off to a good start as I visited a bunch of unexplored places already and returned to some old local spots. I also have a couple of trips coming up that will be full of unexplored back roads!

Hay Lakes, AB was one of the new to me places. It wasn't on my list of places to go that day but the friends we were meeting suggested we meet there to see a couple of the local sights, as they are very familiar with the area.

First we stopped at the old Creamery. It was built in 1923 by Edmonton City Dairy, in 1924 it was taken over by Burns and Company. They constructed additions to the creamery to include a cheese making plant and an egg grading station. The Creamery was then sold in 1944 to the Northern Alberta Dairy Pool. It closed for good in 1969 and was sold the following year.

I love this building. I understand that the current owner uses it but it's too bad it likely will never be restored to it's former condition. It think it should be a designated historic building.

c. 1929 Alberta Provincial Archives

c.1940 Alberta Provincial Archives

c.2018 Jenn 
Just down the block on the east edge of town is what's left of a homestead. There is a big barn, a couple of outbuildings and an old water pump. This land is potentially being slated for redevelopment. It would be a shame to lose this old barn but that is the reality these days.

Here are a couple of interesting buildings on Main Street:

Former garage or implement dealer?

An old store front

Google Image
Hay Lakes has another interesting bit of history attached to it that I read about after I was there so I didn't actually see the site. In 1876 Hay Lakes was the location of the western terminus of the telegraph line. However, by 1879 the line was extended to Edmonton and the Hay Lakes location was closed. The area is now known as Telegraph Park the site was given Provincial historic designation in 1976.  There is more on this here.

In conclusion, I am glad we took the time to explore Hay Lakes and always stop and explore something new.

Have you found something cool or unexpected while out for a drive?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday Service: Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church

Church and Bell Tower

I grew up and lived most of my life in Calgary. I don't recall seeing many Ukrainian Churches in Calgary or southern Alberta, I know there are some but not compared to the number of churches in central and northern Alberta. Once you are about an hour north of where I live, they start appearing on what seems like every other road. One day last year in the span of a couple of hours I stopped at 6 of them and I wasn't even looking. I love their architecture with the unmistakable domes. The amount of domes present on the church all have significance.

Here is some info on the significance of the amount of domes or cupolas: a single dome over the centre of the church represents Christ, 3 is for the Holy Trinity, 5 is for Christ and the 4 evangelists, 7 is the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, 9 refers to the 9 ranks of Angels, and 13 is Christ and the 12 Apostles.

I recently drove by Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church. This area, originally known as Ellswick, was rapidly settled between 1896-1915. Establishing churches and schools was of the utmost importance to these communities. Church services were held in other established churches and homes of the parishioners up until 1910 when a small church was built in the Ellswick area and served 2 congregations, the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Rite Catholics. The 2 congregations eventually split up and private homes were used for the Ukrainian Services until 1921 when construction commenced on the Ukrainian Catholic Church. In 1929 financial help allowed the inside to be completed and for the interior and exterior to be painted.

I am not sure of this church still has regular services, but it is still served by the clergy. It became an Alberta Designated Historic Building in 1988.

3 Domes: The Holy Trinity
Are there churches like this where you live?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Big. Old. Barn.

This last trip out exploring has sure provided a lot of pictures and subjects for me to research more about.

One quick stop was at this big old barn near Duhamel, AB. It is definitely not your traditionally shaped red barn. Someone suggested it was once a horse barn, which I could see being a possibility judging by it's shape. I was also told that there also used to be a home here at some point and that the same family has always owned this land. In any case, it's a lovely old barn.

Not sure which is the front..

This side looks the same...

Old Timey

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday Service: Formerly Known as the Zion Lutheran Church

We were headed home from our big exploring day out 2 weeks ago. Daylight was disappearing but I wanted to check out a village I have never been through before, Ferintosh, AB. It is always a good idea to stop in these places, you never know what you might find!

I saw this little old church on the side of the highway and stopped for a photo. It appears to have been converted to a home, there is no sign or indication of what church it used to be and it looks to be uninhabited now. The windows are boarded up on one side and I couldn't see any tracks at the front door. There is an old RV parked behind it though and possibly a back door. Hard to tell with some of these old places!

I asked a friend who lives in the area who checked her history books. It was the Zion Lutheran Church. Built in 1916 and closed in 1967 due to a dwindling congregation.

Thanks to Deb Trout and Little Beaver Tales.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dinant: Gone but not Forgotten

Dinant, AB was abut 15km north of Camrose. There is nothing there now, no indication that there was ever a settlement, no houses, no stores, no train station, no grain elevators, no mine. All gone.

Along the main highway there is a roadside cairn dedicated to the town of Dinant. The actual town site is about a km east of the marker. I understand putting the marker on a roadside turnout so that more people will hopefully stop and read it. I always stop at roadside signs.

The most information I could find about Dinant, was from the roadside marker. Very little online.
I did read that both of the old school buildings were sold and moved to farm yards. Perhaps they still exist.

Have a read below:

The Provincial Archives had 2 photos of the Bush Mine that used to exist in Dinant.

Undated photo Provincial Archives of Alberta

c.1923 Provincial Archives of Alberta
So now you know there once was a place called Dinant.
Do you know any history about Dinant? I'd love to hear it!

References: Pioneering with a Piece of Chalk, Provincial Archives

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Camrose: Now & Then

Camrose is an interesting city in East Central Alberta. I have driven through it a couple of times but time didn't allow me any exploring time. Last weekend, we had a nice lunch at the Skyway Restaurant in downtown Camrose, and then explored a bit. It's got a ton of great looking shops and old buildings and I want to go back an explore some more.

First we stop at the Bailey Theatre. The Bailey was built in 1911, and began its life as a Vaudeville Theatre. It has the distinction of being the oldest Vaudeville Theatre in Alberta. It moved into silent movies in the 20's and 30's and showed is first 'talkie' in 1930. It was in the 30's that the current marquee and black glass exterior were added. Movies were shown here into the 90's when a multiplex opened and the Bailey could not complete. In 1998 volunteers with the Bailey Theatre Society began restoration, but money ran out and all work stopped. Nothing more happened until 2006 when a benefactor came forward, this along with municipal, provincial and federal funding allowed the theatre to be restored to its former glory in time for it's 100th birthday in 2011. The final cost was $8.1M. Wow!! I would love to see the inside! Photos below from the Bailey Theatre website. 

C. 1930's 

c. 1979

Right across the street from the Bailey is the Alice Hotel. The Alice was built in 1928, but prior to that there was another 3 storey hotel on the same sight. The Windsor Hotel was built in 1904, and burned to the ground in 1919. From what I read in a local history book, the fire was a bit of mystery after the ownership and management changed a couple of times. Brick buildings don't change too much but I like seeing the old photos.

c. 1965

2018. I wish I had the same angle as the other 2. Not my best photo. 
Last but not least is the former Camrose Normal School. This building was built in 1915 as the second Normal School in Alberta. A Normal School is where teachers were trained before they went to teach in one of the thousands of one room school houses in Alberta. From 1915-1938 thousands of teachers received training here. The building was then turned over to the Department of National Defense. Not sure what happened here from secret perhaps? Since 1952 it has operated as Rosehaven Care Centre.

If anyone else, besides me, was wondering why it was called a 'Normal' School. I have a possible answer via the all powerful internet: Normal Schools derive their name from the French phrase 'ecole normale'. These teacher training institutions were intended to set a pattern or norm after which all schools would be modeled. The first such school was established in 1685 in France. I don't suppose there was an Abnormal School as an option.

Also as a brick building it hasn't changed much, you can see a new entrance added at what was below ground level originally. It is a beautiful and impressive building, even more so in person.


You can still see where it said Normal School.  
If you know of any places I should check out in the Camrose area, or anywhere in Alberta, send me a message!

References: HeRMIS;;; A Light Into the Past: Camrose 1905-1980

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Service: Wilhelmina Lutheran Church

Here is another church we stopped at last weekend. It is similar in size and shape of many other Lutheran Churches I have come across on my back road travels. What is different about this church is that it still holds regular Sunday Services. The section at the back of the church, which I thought was a parsonage, is the kitchen and Sunday School area.

As with many prairie pioneer settlements, it was made up of Scandinavian people who left their home countries in search of new opportunities in the Canadian West. This area was first settled by Swedish families by the names of Staboe and Lunde, who came here via Minnesota. The area was then called the Lundemo District. The Lunde family encouraged friends from Sweden to make the trip to Canada and so on. Within a few short years the area was settled.

The Wilhelmina Church was built in 1908. It is nice to see it still going strong 110 years later.

A beautiful Church

The Pasonage

This house is very close to the church, maybe whoever lived here attended Wilhelmina Church.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Verdun School: Nowhere Near Berlin

Last Saturday, I was able to spend most of the daylight hours exploring. That isn't saying much as this time of year there is only about 8 hours of sunlight per day, a few minutes more each day though which is something to be happy about. I am glad I was able to have this full day since we are now in another cold snap and I am not sure when I will have time to explore again.

This school was on my list of things to go see. It is near Duhamel, AB which is NE of where I live about 1.5 hours. The area around this school was originally settled by German immigrants from the NE United States in the late 1890's. In 1902 the New Berlin schoolhouse was complete and would teach Grades 1-8. The community continued to grow and in 1915 an addition to the school and a teacherage were added.

Due to hostility and resentment towards Germany during WWI, the school was renamed in 1918. Verdun was chosen after the Battle of Verdun which happened in 1916. Verdun School continued to hold classes until 1952. It was used also as a community hall and a church. It has now been preserved as an excellent example of a one room prairie schoolhouse. It became an Alberta Designated Historic Building in 2000.

The classic Waterbury

Outhouse 1, the other was in the opposite corner


A photo of a photo inside the school.
Undated but the cars should make it easy to date for someone. 
My little ham, photo by Kim!

School selfie!

This small area of Alberta is very interesting and I will be blogging more on it later. It has several distinct groups of settlers from German to French to Norwegian as well as various religious backgrounds. The Catholic Church in my last post is a short distance from Verdun School.

References: Pioneering With a Piece of Chalk; HeRMIS; Battle River Country: A Historical Sketch of Duhamel and District. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Service: St. Thomas Catholic Church

Yesterday was a great day! I had planned an exploring trip to an area NE of me. Friends of mine, who know the area, were able to meet up with us and we had lunch and visited a bunch of places. All these places were new to me. I had a list of things I was looking for and I was able to show them a couple spots new to them as well.

At the recommendation of my friend Tim, we stopped at Catholic Church of St. Thomas near Duhamel, AB. This simple church was constructed in 1883 of logs. The logs were covered in 1915 when clapboard siding became available. At the same time the bell tower and sacristy (I had to look up what this was) were added.

This church is associated with the work of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate among the Metis communities of Alberta. It remains the only Metis Mission Church on it's original site in Alberta. This church is for the most part unaltered from it's original construction and additions in 1915. It was active until the 1960's and was then converted to a museum. It became a designated Provincial Historic Building in 1980.

Her -----> Him

The cemetery is a bit behind the church, we didn't walk to it.

Since I saw several churches yesterday, I will be posting them on Sundays.

References: HeRMIS

Friday, January 5, 2018

North Cottage School

One of my favourite things to find is old one room country schoolhouses. At the same time as these rural school districts were forming, larger communities needed larger schools. To quickly alleviate the need for schools, 'cottage schools' were built as temporary measures before more permanent brick schools could be built for the growing school aged population. These cottage schools were designed to fit into residential neighbourhoods with the intention of being converted to a home once it was no longer needed as a school.

I have known about a couple of these in Calgary, which I will have to get photos of, but I recently found one not far from where I work, north of downtown in Red Deer.  North Cottage School was one of 2 identical schools built to accommodate the rapidly growing population of Red Deer. Replacing earlier buildings that were torn town. North Cottage was constructed in 1911 and opened in January of 1912. The larger more permanent school was not built until 1954. The 2nd cottage school, that was on the south side of the river, no longer exists.

Interestingly it was never converted to a home as intended and operates today as an Alternative School. It received a renovation in 1989 to restore it to it's original condition and became a registered Alberta Heritage Building in 2009.


I wanted to capture the same angle but there are huge trees blocking the way now, I guess that tends to happen over 106 years. I love how this building has retained its character.

1912 Courtesy of the Red Deer Archives